I tore out the closet...now what??

weedyacresMay 26, 2013

I tore out...er, delicately removed, this tiny closet, and will build a longer one on the opposite wall. There were 3 layers of wallpaper (plus a 4th in places), with garish paint over the top of it, all of which (thankfully) steamed off easily. Who wallpapers closet interiors? Three times, no less??

It now looks like this.

Several decisions I'd like advice/ideas on:
1. We plan to repair the existing plaster, but the closet wall is smooth and the bedroom wall has been painted with a thickly-napped roller. What's the best way to make these wall portions tie together?
2. What to do with the left-behind closet? The stair-steps are directly over the basement stairs, so can't be removed to bring more space into the bedroom. How to turn it from "what's this weird thing?" to "what a cool idea!" (i.e., clever, nice-looking storage)?
3. Paint the woodwork to match what's in the rest of the house? The bottom "step" is pretty beat up.

Keep in mind that when fixed up, this is only a $60K house.

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Any possibility of building the new closet in the same space, just making it larger? This would hide all the problems - mismatched paint, etc.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 1:31PM
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I'm confused. Is it the staircase to the attic? I'd put a mirrored door on the attic and convert the step to a storage chest.
A nice pillow and it's a bench. Match the molding to the rest of the room (which I'm "assuming" you will do with the new closet).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Oldtimecarpenter has a good idea.
build new bigger closet in same space.
paint walls same colors.
saves the worry of what to do.

unless you have other reasons for
relocating the closet??

I think the staircase is pretty cool.
if you do relocate the closet, I'd make
the staircase a feature rather than hiding/
disguising it. jaysmom has a good idea, the mirror
would be usable & so would the chest/step.

I wish I had just one redeeming architecural
feature in my house! the yard is the reason
I bought the place...not the house!

best of luck, I'm enjoying following your progress.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 6:16PM
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The steps really do lead nowhere. They provide overhead for the basement stairs. So the bottom step can't be converted to a bench if we want to be able to access the basement without squatting. There's a floorplan on the front page of the web site I've linked below; it might help a bit.

Here's a shot into the closet straight on.

I like the idea of a door. It's a short/narrow door, but there's actually a door the right size leading from the kitchen to the basement, but alas this closet door frame is horribly out of square. I'm not sure how to hang a door in a parallelogram doorway. Any ideas?

As for closet location, that wall is really the best one for bed placement. Anywhere else and it's in the way (see floorplan link). Plus now I've got a built-in cabinet in the bathroom planned to jut into the (new) closet space.

So I can paint it out to match the white trim (glad no one suggested I strip all the other woodwork), put a cushion/pillow on it to make it a bench. What about the inside? If I can put a door of some kind there, would you leave the space as storage, or do something else? A secret reading nook?

Here is a link that might be useful: Progress photos

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:07PM
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I'd put a door on that space and build out the inside with shelves. It could be great storage. I don't think it would be all that difficult to fit the opening with a door...it would just take a little shimming/scribing of the door frame, right?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:16AM
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wow! this is one of the more wacky / interesting things i've seen on here.

i'd simply repair the plaster, paint the woodwork to match and add a couple of shelves in the empty space. i'd recommend using an oil based paint on the shelves.

i'd spot repair, prime, and repaint the whole room to get everything to match. but that is probably optional. but if you're repairing plaster, you'll find plenty of spots to spot repair around the room.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:36AM
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I'd add shelves and use it as storage. Then I'd try to figure out how to make a bookcase door to cover it. Who doesn't love a secret door?!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Ooooh, geokid, I think you've nailed it! I'm LOVING the swinging bookcase idea. I could make it smaller than the doorway itself so that it could actually be square,and put trim over it that would cover the out-of-square gaps. A little roller on the bottom, hinges on the right, and I think I'll have me a "what a cool idea" result.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:20PM
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I think it will look great! And if you plan it right, you could integrate that bottom step into your design and make it look like one whole piece when the door is closed.

Glad I could offer a suggestion!

Edited to add: You could also figure out a way to make a sliding bookcase door if there's not enough room for a swinging one.

This post was edited by geokid on Wed, May 29, 13 at 0:25

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:13AM
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So, Are you saying the bed will go on the same wall as the steps? If so, won't the steps, potential door, etc. get in the way of a bedside table? It might be possible to devise a built-in bedside table to fit over the steps and put open shelves in the nook. Or, perhaps you don't need a table on that side of the bed.

I've been fascinated by your work on this house. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:41AM
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How about covering it with a larger mirrored door to make a pier glass for the bedroom. Paint or trim up the lower step to fit with the theme of the mirror.

Inside, use the steps and install shelves (I can't see what it's like in there) for a bit of extra storage.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 1:19PM
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I forgot the bed was going on that wall. That rules out the sliding bookcase idea. A swing door might still work.

I also thought of something similar to what lazygardens suggested. It looks like a great spot for a built-in vanity or something like that.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 2:17PM
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I'm curious, what have you decided to do? Did the bookcase door work out?!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:56PM
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Still planning on the bookcase door, but it's down the road on the project list. Hoping to refinish the floors over labor day, though a hangup with the drywall guy we hired (who is way behind his promised schedule, and who we need to have finished before we do the floors) may throw a wrench in those plans.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 8:50AM
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I'd like to see what you decided on, too. My first thought was that the bumped-out closet actually dealt with the issues pretty well and offered storage -- maybe you could just recreate it. But if you don't mind spending some money on it . . .

Hire a finish carpenter and create a built-in that protrudes into the room to the extent of the existing bottom "step". Tear out the existing door frame to allow use of the entire width of the steps. Use drawers on the lower portion where the fronts are flush with the front of the step (not the wall). Then the upper section is used for hanging clothes like before. Since the whole thing is built in front of the existing opening, you'll be able to have a nice square opening -- maybe with double doors that open to the hanging area.

The end result would be something like the linked picture, but narrower, and with the existing first "step" as the base.

Here is a link that might be useful: built-in armoire

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 8:56AM
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All I can say is that the adrenalin started running, and wheels turning when I went to your progress website. That 'I can bring this back to life' bug bites pretty hard, doesn't it? It's going to be a very attractive little home when you finish, and it's never a dull moment when you look at previous DIY revisions to an older home.

Have done my share of them over the years and don't plan on doing any more, since there will always be more work to do on our present old home, but it was a neat read and you'll be glad you kept such a good diary of it. Best of luck and imagine you'll turn that funky little closet into something interesting.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:31AM
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